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IMG_4920It’s here!  The “Children’s Ministry Magazine” May/June 2014 issue.  The one with my article in it!  They said that they were going to publish it.  And they did!  I have enjoyed reading this magazine for several years, but this one is extra fun!

shoesI’m excited about the opportunity to speak at a dinner for writers soon.  In preparation of that I was asked a question about a post on my blog.  You know the post, or posts.  The subject that keeps coming up again and again – my brown shoes.

Since I have posted different times about my brown shoes I was asked where I was going with those shoes.  It made me laugh at first because I have been going to many places with those shoes – to the grocery store, to the airport, to different places to teach, to restaurants for lunch with friends and even to the ladies’ Bible study that I’ve been leading in my home.  I know that going to literal places is not what they meant by that question of where am I going, but in a way it is.  And it’s a good question.

You remember the shoes.  Those brown, leather and oh-so-comfortable shoes that I can just slide my feet right into as I walk out the door.  My favorite shoes.  And you remember that when my first pair of those favorite brown shoes looked worn I went to the store and was able to replace them with a new pair of the same shoes.  Oh, that was a happy day!  But over time that second pair of brown shoes began to look just like my first pair and, oh, that was a sad day when I realized that they were worn out, too.  But then I discovered brown shoe polish.  I polished my shoes and they looked like new again.  I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement in my heart over my newly polished shoes.  I could wear them everywhere without being ashamed of how worn my favorite comfy shoes looked.  As I wore my shoes, I could polish them over and over again to keep them looking nice.  But that much work only lasts for so long.

So what did I do?  I kept one pair nicely polished and stored away in its box for times when I needed to wear shoes that looked fresh, clean and perfectly polished.  And the rest of the time I just walked right out of the house wearing my favorite brown leather comfy, well-worn shoes.  As I think about that now I realize that while maybe we don’t all have favorite shoes or even two pairs of the same favorite shoes so we can keep one pair in a box for special times, we do wear different faces depending on where we are going.  Sometimes we can just be ourselves in our comfy well-worn shoes like when we shop at our local grocery store or meet friends for lunch, but at other times we don’t let others know we have those well-worn shoes and we put on our nice shoes, as if we have everything all together.

Over the last few months I have been leading a ladies’ Bible study in my home about marriage, which has been a lot of fun.  I so enjoy spending time with other ladies who love God and also their husbands!  As I shared some of my own mistakes from my early years of marriage we laughed and learned together.  It was like I put on my well-worn shoes and let everyone see them.  Well, actually, most of the days I’m pretty sure that I was wearing my actual well-worn shoes.  But what happened was that the other ladies saw that I don’t always have it all together.  And that it’s okay to learn and grow each day.  And while I wore those worn-out shoes something happened.  The ladies quickly felt comfortable to share about their own struggles and victories as the room became a safe place to put on our well-worn shoes together and just be real.  Because of that we were able to surround each other with prayer and support each other.  Don’t you love wearing your well-worn shoes with good friends?  The whole series was such a special Bible study time together.  Because I wore my favorite brown leather worn-out shoes.

There are times to put on my nicely polished shoes, though.  Like when I go out with my husband or speak somewhere.  I wore them recently to a fundraising banquet for a ministry that I volunteer with.  It is important to look our best!  However, sometimes we choose to look our best, like maybe on Sunday mornings, when really we just need to put on our worn-out shoes, be real and allow someone to see that we don’t have it all together.

First Peter 5:5 says, “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,’” (NIV).

I guess I clothed myself with humility as I put on my worn-out shoes and shared with my Bible study friends.  It has been so neat to watch God work in our lives as we have shared with each other.  So I guess for now that is where I’m going with those shoes, which is wherever God leads me, whether it’s in a time to wear my nicely polished shoes or in a time to wear my worn-out shoes.

So here’s my question for you today:  What shoes will you wear?

Amazing Fish Story

fishing boat picHave you ever gone fishing?  How many fish did you catch?

I recently got to share Peter’s fish story with two different groups of kids and I wonder how it compares to your fish story.

Peter grew up learning how to fish from his dad.  He got to ride in the boat and learn how to put the nets into the water in the Sea of Galilee.  He learned the right place and the right time to catch fish.  And by the time he grew up he was a very good fisherman.

So one day while he was cleaning his nets someone stepped into his boat.  It was Jesus!  Jesus was there teaching people.  Only there were so many people that Jesus didn’t have a lot of space to teach from.  So He got into Peter’s boat and invited Peter take him out into the water a little ways to teach.

When Jesus was done teaching, the people left.  But not Jesus.  Jesus stayed in Peter’s boat and told Peter to do something that didn’t make any sense.  Jesus told Peter to go out to the deep water, put down his nets and then he would catch fish.  Would Peter do what Jesus said?  Peter had just been out that night – the time when you catch fish in the Sea of Galilee – and in the shallow water – the place where you catch fish – and not caught anything.  Besides that, his fishermen friends were right there.  What if they laughed at him?  What if they made fun of him for doing what Jesus said?  And why would Jesus want him to do that anyway?  It didn’t make any sense.

You have to like Peter.  He knew it was more important to do what Jesus said than to worry about why or what his friends would think.  So he did what Jesus told him to do.  He took that boat out to the deep water, let down his nets and waited.  And waited.  What would happen?

I’ll tell you what happened.  Peter caught so many fish that his nets began to break and he ended up filling his boat and his friends’ boat with fish!  Only God could have done that!  And everyone there was amazed by how many fish they caught.

There’s a lot in this story, but today I’m enjoying the reminder of how amazing our God is.  Everyone there that day knew it.  How about you?

Okay, so maybe you haven’t caught two boatloads of fish during your fishing trips, but I’m sure you’ve seen God do amazing things.

And what if you didn’t worry about what other people think about you – only God?  What if you didn’t worry about why God says what He says and just obeyed Him?  Or what if you just took time to notice the amazing things that God has done and is doing right now?

You may not have an amazing story about fishing to tell, but I bet you have an amazing story about God to tell.  Or maybe you’re like Peter in that boat before the miracle.  You’re obeying God and you feel like you’re sitting in that boat waiting to see what will happen next, wondering what God is doing and hoping that it will be good.  In time I think those nets will be full of fish, everyone around you will be amazed by what God has done and you will have an amazing story to tell!

Like Peter’s amazing fish story.

While We Wait

childwaitingAre you waiting for anything?  I’m waiting for something.  Something that’s going to make me wait again.  And I don’t even really like waiting.

I ordered a new slow cooker.  Now I have to wait for it to come.  Why does that take so long?  Well, it should only be a few days, but it sure seems like a long time.  It will be great when it is here, though.  And while I wait I can find new slow cooker recipes.

Because when it comes, I’ll get to cook with it.  And then wait some more because slow cookers cook food for hours until the food is ready.  But the slow-cooked food will be so good.  And while I wait, the kitchen will be filled with the wonderful aroma of hope – hope of a delicious dinner.

So today I’m thinking about waiting.  Some things just take so long.  And we have to wait.  Like waiting in line at the store.  Waiting for pizza to be delivered.  Waiting for God to answer prayers.  Waiting for injuries to heal.  Waiting for a doctor report.  Waiting for someone’s heart to change.  Waiting for a job.  Waiting for a paycheck.  Waiting for Christmas.  Waiting to meet someone special.  Waiting for marriage.  Waiting for a baby to be born.  Waiting for a busy time of life to be over.  Waiting to go on vacation.  Waiting for nail polish to dry.  Waiting for a child to tie their shoes.  Waiting for an airplane.  Waiting for the weekend.  Waiting.

Some things just take time.  And we have to wait.  But often the things that we wait for are worth the wait.  Which is why I ordered a slow cooker instead of just cooking everything in the microwave or oven or on the stove.  Yes, dinner from a slow cooker will be good.  And worth the wait.  So what do we do while we’re waiting?

There are several verses in the Bible about waiting.  Here are a couple from the Psalms:

When David was confident that God would deliver him from his enemies he wrote, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord,”  (Psalm 27:14 NIV).

I don’t know who wrote this, but whoever it was knew that God’s Word would never fail.  Here’s Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his words I put my hope.”

Isaiah knew that God was always good, even when we are in difficult times of waiting, and he encouraged God’s people to trust in Him and gain their strength from Him.  He wrote Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So, even when it’s difficult to wait, we can be confident and strong because we know that God’s Word will never fail.  Whatever happens during and after the wait, God will be with us.  Actually, God is right here with us even while we wait.

Love Is…

heartinhands“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

Shoe Saga Steps On

shoeswalkingSo, you know those shoes that I’ve written about twice now?  Yep, there’s more.  My shoe saga steps on!

To catch you up, first the shoes were very worn out, but I kept wearing them because they were so comfortable.  Then I found out that the store was still selling them and they had them in my size.  What a happy day that was!  But I also learned that maybe God doesn’t want us to just be comfortable all the time.  Oh.

Then that second pair of shoes wore out, but I made an amazing discovery:  shoe polish.  When I polished my shoes they looked like new again.  Another happy day!  And I learned that God is very good at making things new, including us.

So I wore my nicely polished shoes for weeks until I realized that they were looking worn out again.  Ugh!  I need to get that shoe polish out.  I haven’t polished them yet, but I did see someone at an airport having his shoes polished and again I discovered something.  As we all live our lives from day to day, our shoes get worn out.  We need them polished over and over.  In the same way, we need to continually be spending time with God.  We were created to know God, to be in relationship with Him, not to live life on our own.

Think about all those athletes that we get to watch now at the Olympics.  I’m sure that they didn’t always feel like training for their sport, but now I’m sure that they are very glad that they did spend all of that time learning, practicing and listening to their coaches.  What if we as believers spent time every day with our coach – our God who knows us and wants the best for us?  I think it would make a big difference in our lives.  We definitely see a difference in the way that those athletes perform their sports.  So let’s spend time training with our coach as he helps us keep our shoes polished.

Let’s keep spending time with God every day and continue to be filled with His Holy Spirit as we step on!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize,” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).

presentpicWe just celebrated Christmas and I found this poem that my son wrote when he was little.  It’s still a good reminder for today so here it is:

Christmas is fun in the snow.

But don’t the people know?

The only thing that really matters

Isn’t the turkey on the platters.

It isn’t the presents under the tree,

But it’s that Jesus came

For you and me.

By Nathan Schulz

Just Like New!

manwithnewsignIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you may remember my post about my favorite shoes.  The shoes that I continue to wear even though they’re not real pretty, but because they’re so comfortable.  Well, guess what?  After purchasing a second pair of the same shoes because the first pair was so worn out, and then wearing out the second pair, I discovered shoe polish.  Who knew?!

I polished my worn out shoes with shoe polish and now both pairs of shoes look just like new!

And as we begin this new year, I’m wondering how many of us are feeling like a pair of worn out shoes.  Did you know that there is shoe polish?  Did you know that our loving God makes all things new?

God loves you even more than I love those shoes!  He knows that we sometimes feel very worn out.  And He knows how to help you feel just like new again.  First Peter 5:7 says to give all of our cares and worries to God because He cares about us.  All those things that wear us down, God is very able to take care of them.  All we have to do is let them go and let God take care of us.

And He will make all things new, which is very exciting because my favorite shoes are so wonderful now that they are covered with shoe polish.  I don’t have to wear worn out shoes!  I can live my life with beautifully polished shoes!

So as you begin this new year, think about this:  What if you allowed God to take care of you and cover you with His love today and in this new year?

God’s promise is for you today.  Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  You can “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV) and be just like new!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Curios what my shoes looked like before I discovered shoe polish?  There’s a picture in my post about them here:  http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/dont-get-comfortable/

This is a great song as we remember the last twelve months and prepare to move into the next year.  Look at some of the lyrics:

Standing on this mountain top looking just how far we’ve come knowing that for every step You were with us.  Kneeling on this battleground seeing just how much You’ve done knowing every victory was Your power in us.  Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say, yes, our hearts can say:  Never once did we ever walk alone.  Never once did You leave us on our own.  You are faithful, God, You are faithful.  Every step we are breathing in Your grace and evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise.  You are faithful, God, You are faithful.

Listen here to “Never Once” by One Sonic Society.

Nativity

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6 NIV.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:11 NIV.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

My Christmas Posts:

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/wise-men/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/a-christmas-poem/  (I found out this week when I went to speak at a school chapel that my son’s former first grade teacher is still using his poem as an example in her classes.  He actually came along with me and hung out in the sound booth while I spoke.  After chapel I found him surrounded by children who had seen his poem and wanted to meet him.  How fun!)

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/come-on-christmas/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/december-devotions-a-charlie-brown-christmas/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/december-devotions-merry-christmas/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/december-devotions-seeking-shepherds/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/december-devotions-homemade-ornaments-mustard-seeds/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/december-devotions-a-bright-star/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/december-devotions-pondering-with-mary/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/december-devotions-a-bethlehem-boys-curious-christmas/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/december-devotions-santas-list/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/december-devotions-christmas-lights/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/december-devotions-like-peanut-butter-jelly/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/december-devotions-got-joy/

http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/december-devotions/

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